I want Cumbria to have the best super-fast broadband network in Europe. I don’t want to see any home left behind, which is why we, here in Fell End in Penrith and The Border, pioneered a community ‘build-and-benefit’ model, involving the community, government and the private sector, to create a replicable business case that means every remote area of the UK will be able to secure for themselves all the social and economic benefits that broadband offers. The primary obstacle to economic growth in Cumbria is isolation. Isolation has an enormous impact on both a business’ access to service provisions, and on its access to markets. For the first time in history, we have developed a technology which allows us to overcome this barrier, and nothing can consequently make a greater single contribution to Cumbria’s economy, growth, or services than broadband.

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£16.8 million pounds for broadband in cumbria

Rory has welcomed news of the government’s confirmation of £16.8 million pounds for broadband improvements in Cumbria. The news comes just hours before Rory will chair a Broadband Industry Day, where representatives of the world’s major telecom companies – including BT, Fujitsu, Cable & Wireless and Cisco – will visit Penrith to meet with local […]


backbenchers fight and win a battle for the future of rural britain

The House of Commons voted unanimously yesterday  to push the government to provide mobile and broadband coverage for two million more people, particularly in rural areas. The surprise vote, led by Rory, attracted over a hundred signatures to the motion in four days (more than for any motion, debated on the floor of the House of Commons, in living […]

Rory Speaks on Rural Broadband and Mobile Coverage

Transcript I beg to move, that this House recognises that rural businesses and rural communities across the UK are isolated and undermined by slow broadband and the lack of mobile voice and mobile broadband coverage; urges Ofcom to increase the coverage obligation attached to the 800MHz spectrum licence to 98 per cent.; and calls upon […]


broadband activism in askham

Rory, attended a broadband meeting at Askham village hall on Saturday to discuss community action and the benefits of superfast broadband with residents of Askham, Helton, Bampton and the surrounding area. In a meeting convened by newly-elected District Councillor and local broadband champion Mike Slee, Rory discussed the ways in which communities can get involved […]

rural broadband and mobile coverage debate

Rory will open a full debate in the House of Commons on May 19th on the subject of rural broadband and mobile phone coverage. If he wins he hopes mobile coverage will be provided to an additional 2 million people around Britain and rural broadband will be significantly extended. Rory’s motion has garnered much cross-party […]


westminster rural broadband debate

Rory initiated an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday at which he led MPs from around the country to push the Minister for Broadband, Edward Vaizey MP, on the demand for rural broadband. In the Westminster Hall Debate on Wednesday 23rd March 2011 Rory attracted 20 fellow MPs to the debate representing […]

Rory’s Speech on Rural Broadband

Transcript I honour the hon. Member for Dagenham and Rainham (Jon Cruddas) for giving a good defence of many of the good elements of the big society, and a good warning on some of its dangers. Much of the debate, however, reminds me of sitting in a room with a group of philosophers looking at […]

bringing superfast broadband to penrith and the border

Nothing that I have done in my short time in parliament has been as exciting or as fulfilling as broadband. My constituency of Penrith and the Border is the largest in England and consists of over 200 villages. Our greatest problems stem from distance and isolation. My neighbour with Parkinson’s has to drive to Newcastle Hospital […]

‘broadband meets localism’ conference

Rory opened the ‘Broadband Meets Localism‘ conference at Carlisle Racecourse on Saturday January 14th with a speech in which he explained how the passion of parishes in Cumbria was ‘completely transforming’ the government’s approach to broadband. Gathered at the event, organised by the Carlisle Parish Councils Association (CPCA) and Cumbria County Council, were over one hundred community […]

village hall led revolution

Article first published in The Observer on 2 January 2011. An internet revolution driven by tiny rural communities and their village halls in Cumbria is giving the telecoms giants a run for their money This winter, 130 activists gathered to discuss superfast broadband in a village hall in Cumbria. They had come from 100 villages, […]